Name: Tiffany Nguyen
Hometown: Redondo Beach, California
Favorite pair of shoes: Keen Durand Mid WP Hiking Boot
Favorite viewpoint: Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park
Dream destinations: Antarctica, the Falklands, and South Georgia Island
WHAT PART HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED IN EXPLORING YOUR PASSION FOR OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY?
Social media is definitely where I go first to find inspiration for photography and new adventures. When I see an epic photo, I can't help but imagine what it would be like to experience that place for myself. Not only has it been a great place to find new places to explore, but it's also been an amazing way to meet like-minded people that inspire me to get outside and be a better photographer. Some of the best kept secrets this world has to offer can be found on social media and with a little bit of research, you can learn everything you need to know to explore them for yourself!
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THE INSTAGRAM COMMUNITY AND FIND A CREW OF LIKE-MINDED EXPLORERS?
I started my Instagram account to stay connected with friends and share my personal life, but as I started to get into adventuring, I realized that there were so many people on Instagram that shared my passion for the outdoors. We’re all inspired by each other's photos and stories and push each other to be better. It's amazing to be able to surround yourself with people who are so open to new experiences. I couldn't have dreamed of all the doors that would be opened by Instagram but the people I've met as a result of joining this amazing community are without a doubt the best part.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR DAILY LIFE (AS A HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL) WITH THE TIME YOU DEDICATE TO TRAVEL AND PHOTOGRAPHY?
Having a balanced lifestyle is one of the most important aspects of my life. Balancing my career and travel is definitely not easy and sometimes I do have to make sacrifices. Many of my trips take months to plan and force me to take time away from work, but it’s an essential part of my life now. There’s never going to be a perfect time to travel so why not make that time now. I believe that it's important to always pursue one's dreams and take any opportunities that come your way. For me, this means always saying yes to adventure because these opportunities aren't necessarily going to wait around. Although it can be challenging at times, I always do my best to find balance between being a dentist on the weekdays and an adventurer on the weekends.
OUTDOOR ADVENTURE ACCOUNTS HAVE BECOME INCREASINGLY POPULAR ON INSTAGRAM. WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN A STRONG LIKING TO THE "ADVENTURE" LIFESTYLE ON THIS PLATFORM?
It's no surprise that the adventure lifestyle is huge on Instagram and it's only continuing to grow every day. Instagram is an incredible tool that allows people to see what the world has to offer in a way they never have before. Photos have the ability to bring out emotions in people and can inspire them to go out and explore this awesome earth for themselves. When you see someone doing something epic or exploring somewhere incredible on Instagram, it serves as proof that there's nothing stopping you from experiencing these things for yourself.
YOU HAVE A DISTINCT STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY (SMALL FIGURES ON EPIC LANDSCAPES) — HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THIS? WHAT WERE YOUR INSPIRATIONS?
So many times when I go somewhere for the first time, I'm blown away by the immense scale of it. It's difficult to do some places justice through a single photograph but I love doing what I can to highlight the sheer magnitude of a place. It really puts things into perspective and makes you realize how small we are compared to the incredible creations of this world. I want people to feel like they're there experiencing a place alongside me when they look at my photos. I find inspiration through countless other photographers but there's no substitute for the experience of spending time in a raw, natural landscape and letting that experience speak through your photos.
APART FROM YOUR CAMERA — WHAT IS ON YOUR GEAR CHECK LIST WHEN YOU GO OUT EXPLORING?
I don’t ever go exploring without a rain shell (preferably something red and bright!), a headlamp, chapstick, extra batteries, sunglasses, and plenty of snacks to fuel me for the day.
HOW DOES YOUR ACTIVE LIFESTYLE INSPIRE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
My style when I'm out exploring consists of clothes that make it easy to move around and don't inhibit whatever activity I'm doing - a lot of leggings, shorts, colorful rain shells, and hats. Bright colors that really pop in photos are a must. My personal style used to be a lot more subdued with more neutral colors like blacks and greys, but I've become a lot more open to wearing bright colors in my everyday life now!
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN GOOD, VERSATILE HIKING GEAR?
First and foremost, I always look for the most light weight gear possible. Carrying around heavy camera gear isn't easy so it's especially important that the rest of my gear is as light as possible. I also look for durable goods that can withstand the rough conditions I put them through.
WHAT IS ONE DESTINATION THAT SURPRISED YOU WITH ITS UNIQUE BEAUTY?
I recently visited Grand Canyon National Park for the first time and I was completely blown away by its immense scale and the dynamic landscapes it offered. There's something about it that's just extremely difficult to capture through photos. Backpacking from the South Rim to the Colorado River and beyond was one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had outdoors and I hope that everyone gets to experience it once in their life.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN CALIFORNIA TO HIKE/PHOTOGRAPH/EXPLORE?
Yosemite National Park is hands down my favorite place to explore in California. There’s tons of great hiking and an endless amount of world-class spots to photograph. From the tallest waterfall in North America to the epic views of Half Dome around every corner, this place is an adventurer’s dream. My first time visiting was just two years ago, but I’ve been back six times since then.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU? WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE IN THE NEXT YEAR?
This is going to be an extremely busy, but undoubtedly exciting year of travel for me. I’ll be experiencing many diverse locations for the first time and really broadening my perspective on the world. First up is New York followed by Washington, Whistler, Cuba, Yosemite, Alberta, Glacier National Park, Switzerland, and I'm sure a few other spots along the way!